The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is revolutionising industries across the board, and the pharmacy sector is no exception. As AI technology continues to develop, tools like ChatGPT are emerging as catalysts for change in how pharmacies operate.
In this article, we explore 6 ways ChatGPT can integrate into pharmacy practice, streamlining processes, enhancing customer service, and optimising operations.
Can you start doing all these overnight? No.
Should you start a journey for integrating them today? Absolutely. Unless you’ve got plans with your kids. In which case, do that first. Then, and only then, should you start your pharmacy journey with GPT.
1. Automated Customer Support and “Virtual” ChatGPT Pharmacist Consultations
One of the key applications of ChatGPT in pharmacy practice is automating patient interactions – at least, the ones that happen all day every day. By integrating ChatGPT into pharmacy systems, pharmacies provide instant and accurate answers to customer queries, saving time and resources while maintaining a consistently high level of customer service.
Moreover, ChatGPT can also facilitate virtual pharmacist consultations, giving patients convenient access to professional advice without requiring a physical visit to the pharmacy.
We’re now exploring how we can use ChatGPT in your pharmacy website.
How would this work?
ChatGPT operates by processing and understanding data it’s given. By using Open AI‘s API, then coding a bespoke model/application for ChatGPT, it could understand your pharmacy’s data, such as the data held in your PMR system. Using this would enable it to respond to patient queries about their medication, including anything from asking when their prescription will be ready, to reporting side effects they’re experiencing and asking for advice.
The code could then tell ChatGPT to tell the patient to either seek the advice of a pharmacist or, potentially, raise a red flag in the PMR system based on the Patient’s interaction.
I think an initial issue is patients accepting that they were talking to AI – there are lots of trust issues there (You would absolutely have to be up front about it being an automated response). But this is a barrier to all new tech, and the more people used it, the more used to it they’d get.
2. Drug Interaction Checks and Prescription Validation
Patient safety is paramount in any healthcare setting, and pharmacies play a critical role in ensuring the safe dispensing of medications. ChatGPT can be employed to analyse drug interactions, alerting pharmacists to potential risks and helping to minimise the likelihood of adverse drug reactions. Additionally, ChatGPT can assist in automatically validating prescriptions, identifying potential errors, and ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Could Pharmacy PMR Systems then harness ChatGPT? We think so.
3. Inventory Management and Predictive Analytics for Demand Forecasting
Effective inventory management is essential to the smooth operation of a pharmacy. By leveraging ChatGPT, pharmacies can track and manage their inventory more efficiently, optimising stock levels and preventing running out of meds. Furthermore, integrating ChatGPT with external pharmacy data (such as the RPS, GPhC, PharmData) enables better demand forecasting, allowing adjusting inventory and staffing in anticipation of future needs.
4. Staff Training and Education
Pharmacies utilising ChatGPT as an educational resource to train staff on new medications, procedures, and regulations, ensuring a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce would be possible right now, with the right development.
This AI-assisted training can help employees stay current with industry developments and provide the best possible care to patients.
How can pharmacy owners trust ChatGPT enough to use it for training their staff?
Pharmacy owners concerns about relying on an AI system like ChatGPT for staff training are understandable.
Establishing trust in the technology requires:
- Validating the information provided by ChatGPT: Pharmacy owners can cross-check the information generated by ChatGPT with reliable sources, such as regulatory guidelines, drug databases, or educational materials.
- Combining AI assistance with human expertise: ChatGPT can be used as a supplementary resource alongside traditional training methods, providing staff with a comprehensive learning experience.
- Monitoring and adjusting: Pharmacy owners can regularly review and assess the quality of the training materials generated by ChatGPT and adjust their approach accordingly.
Regarding the validation of the information provided by ChatGPT, it should be possible to code ChatGPT’s API to integrate with the resources you yourself as a pharmacist would trust…meaning it has access to all the right information.
So far, my partner, who is a tax advisor who hates ChatGPT conceptually, has begrudgingly conceded that it knows the tax legislation pretty well. It’s answered things it took her 20 minutes to look up, instantly. Of course, it’s human nature to want to double-check this, but overall, AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on.
Giving it access to the same data you have means it’s probably going to be fine.
5. Personalised Medication Reminders and Patient Engagement
Improving patient adherence to medication regimens is crucial in achieving better health outcomes.
Pharmacies can use ChatGPT to send personalised medication reminders via text or email, making it easier for patients to remember when to take their medications. Additionally, ChatGPT can help pharmacies engage with their patients through tailored content and targeted marketing campaigns, promoting specific products or services and fostering long-term relationships.
Sending personalised medication reminders via text or email using ChatGPT requires integration with the pharmacy’s software systems. Here’s how this can be achieved:
- Establish a secure connection between the pharmacy’s software and ChatGPT API, allowing the AI to access relevant patient data, such as medication schedules and contact information.
- Develop custom scripts or applications that utilise ChatGPT to generate personalised reminder messages based on the patient’s medication regimen.
- Integrate the ChatGPT-generated messages with the pharmacy’s existing communication systems, such as email or SMS platforms, to automatically send reminders to patients.
6. Continuous Process Improvement
Pharmacies can harness the analytical capabilities of ChatGPT to evaluate operational data and identify areas for improvement. By continuously refining workflows and customer service, pharmacies can ensure they remain competitive and provide optimal care to their patients. Again, this would require investing into custom development, but the investment would be a fraction of the value generated, especially since the investment is ad-hoc and the benefits are ongoing.
The integration of ChatGPT into pharmacy practice holds immense potential to revolutionise the industry and change pharmacists’ lives by automating key processes, improving customer service, and optimising overall operations. As AI technology continues to advance, the applications of ChatGPT in pharmacy practice will only expand, paving the way for a more efficient and patient-centric healthcare experience.
Much of these require additional development on the pharmacy’s own site. Using ChatGPT’s API as a foundation, however, this is possible.